I’m sure that Johnny Bogroll’s view would have been much more interesting that a 32” LCD in Orrell, even if there was a distracting b flat soundtrack, but hell, Mrs Perm has just put Glee on, they’ve just murdered Beck’s ‘Loser’ and it’s either witter on about England v USA or go to bed, and I can only carry on drinking with one of them. But then again, after a season defending managers and formations, maybe I’m just looking for an excuse. After all, if there’s a time that we all know better, it’s when it comes down to England, we all know better, don’t we?
I’ll start by explaining that I’ve got beef with a few of Fabio’s squad. Milner’s an Oxy10’d reminder of when Leeds went bad and the kids made money. Lennon’s straight out of an N’Dubz video. I hold Shaun Wright Philips in about as high esteem as Paul Scharner and I’ll go to my grave wondering what the point of Frank Lampard is. I can give you about 8 more that I have non-football problems with, but that’s not why I’m here.
On the other hand, I’m wouldn’t be trying to be funny if I said that Emile Heskey is great. But that doesn’t mean he’s great for England. It’s a time and place thing, a club like Latics needs a player like Ivanhoe, but do England? He’s good at the job he does, but is it the job in hand? He works in a 4-4-2, but after spend the last nine months defending a manger that thinks it’s an all too simple formation, is it ever going to do the business for the national team.
Once upon a time, all England’s best players played for clubs playing 4-4-2. These days, pretty much none of them do. Rooney has thrived on being United’s lone striker; Gerard has only looked genuinely world class feeding a lone striker and errrrm… I’m sure that’s not it but my point is that Steeeeveee is wasted in a holding role and asking Wayne to play a supporting role to anyone can only lead to frustration, the only choice is his or our’s.
Tonight it was definitely ours. England’s performance wasn’t terrible. It wasn’t all doom and gloom and barring Rob Green’s cock up we would have had three points but England didn’t flow. Better than the warm up games, yes, but potential quarter/semi/finalists, not at all. Still (ignoring the gut reaction that any side that struggles to retain possession like ours can only be doomed) it only felt like they were only inches away.
England struggled to get Rooney in the game, Milner plodded his way through the first half an hour, Wright Philips continued to demonstrate exactly why he didn’t make the grade at Chelsea and won’t at City now that they are taking things seriously and Emile put a good shift in but missed the cutting edge when it really, really mattered. Our two best players were too deep and too far away from each other.
Fabio might need Barry for the true Alonso, Gerard, Torres effect but that doesn’t mean that we need to start making sacrifices. It’s hardly a difficult question to answer is it? Do we use the best system available to us, or play someone who managed a narrow 2nd place in the league and a Champions’ League semi with his club? Rely on two players who can’t get into Europa League sides or squeeze some better ones in.
Are there anymore than two people in the country that would put Shaun Wright Philips ahead of Joe Cole (especially now his dad doesn’t work for the BBC)? There’s some kind of lingering doubt about Carrick, but is it still there if him playing means that Gerard could get involved in positions on the pitch where he could really make a difference? You know, like how no one is thinking about Hendry Thomas anymore, but imagine that his comeback would allow James McCarthy to get forward again. In fact it’s not like, it’s exactly the same.
So, more than an ounce of Stella, probably means that the above makes no sense whatsoever, but the point is that a draw against TEAM USA,YEAH, STOKED (sorry Avant and the rest) is meaningless unless we take the lessons. Yes, they’re a better side than most of the country will ever give them credit for but so are England. Fabio seems to be waiting for Gareth Barry to be able to play a formation that he can play without him and is putting his faith in too many reserves in the meantime.
And as I was thinking of a closing paragraph one thing occurred to me. I’ve flashed back to 1990 and how Booby Robson’s team and tactics developed during the tournament. That was the last time I believed we could actually do something at the World Cup and it started with a draw against a team that the world thought we should beat, but no one was that distraught about. So all good then, apart from the fact that Andy Townsend has got something to talk about on my tele.
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